The Circle (2015)

  • Year: 2015
  • Released: 18 Feb 2015
  • Country: Sweden
  • Adwords: 3 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Swedish
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
  • Runtime: 144 min
  • Writer: Sara Bergmark Elfgren, Levan Akin, Mats Strandberg
  • Director: Levan Akin
  • Cast: Josefin Asplund, Helena Engström, Miranda Frydman
  • Keywords: witch, small town, bully, school, witchcraft,

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The Circle Movie Reviews

Do it for your own sake

This is the Swedish version of “The Craft.” Six high school girls suddenly get the calling and discover they have powers. One can move things, another has invisibility, another can control minds, etc. They are reluctantly mentored as they have a task, to save the world from demons and make it through high school.

I really liked the Kate Bush swagger music as Anna-Karin (Helena Engström) an unpopular picked on chubby girl suddenly has an entourage of followers. The film is long and builds slowly. The special effects are minimal and unimpressive, but effective for this type of film. Leona Axelsen plays the goth chick. while Irma von Platen is the smart geek. One person in the group (Hanna Asp) doesn’t want to be a witch which causes some internal conflict.

Guide: F-word. Implied sex. No nudity.

Great directing and superb acting

So “Cirkeln” is finally here. Since the book is a bestseller and it has been translated in over 20 languages – The film has been hyped in Sweden as “the next big export” after Swedish international success with “Girl with the dragon tattoo” and “Snabba cash”. I personally love the novel and was so afraid that the movie would’nt match it’s expectations… There was never any need to be nervous about that.

Director Levan Akin has put together an extraordinary cast of young actors whom shows (possibly) the best ensemble performance I’ve ever seen in a Swedish film. The acting in Swedish films are almost always overacted and too theatrical but not in this one. Irma von Platen (Minoo), Helena Engström (Anna-Karin), Miranda Frydman (Vanessa), Josefin Asplund (Rebecka), Leona Axelsen (Linnea) and Hanna Asp (Ida) does a tremendous job as witches aka The chosen ones, with stand out performances from Platen, Engström and Frydman. I’ve never in my life seen so good chemistry between actresses in a Swedish film. Akin’s smart way of presenting the girls in their respective environments gives the audience a clear look on every girl and you understand they’re personal problems as well as their differences.

I must say that Akin’s work as director and co-writer with Sara Bergmark Elfgren in this film needs to be praised since i never thought they could take so many characters and actually have them all make a significant input in the film. It is one of those few times you feel that the film adaptation holds the same high standards as the novel.

Cinematography is off the hook as well as sound. And the special effects are actually good and well crafted.

This is a true breakthrough for female actors and it shows once and for all that they are just as bad-ass as any male-hero (like that was ever up for debate). But the guys in this film should not go unnoticed. Gustav Lindh acts with quality in his 5 minutes on screen as Elias. Charlie Petersson shows pretty-boy-stardom as Wille. And Sverrir Gudnasson is just the right choice to play Max.

Overall a 9/10 and without doubt a gamechanger in Swedish cinema!

Hunt for a witch hunter.

A Swedish young-adult urban-fantasy-drama based on the first book of the ‘Engelsfors’ trilogy. If you are a Hollywood films follower, then you would find it a very familiar theme. Except it was not a loud and grand narration produced with the money grabbing agenda. But yes, earning back for what they have spent on it is a very important for any film and sadly it failed on that. Because of too much of dramatisation for a teen film. I liked it because the drama was not a big deal to me. A very refreshing film and nothing like too childish, so even the grown ups can give it a try and have a good time.

Engelfors is a small fictional town in the Sweden and the story revolves around six teenage girls who are the chosen ones by the secret witch society to save the world. All the girls are entirely different and does not like each others. So joining the hands to counter the evil force that’s posing a threat for their kind becomes hopeless. Until they understand their full capability and discover who’s behind all the strange events. That brings the ultimate battle which is what everyone of us is waiting for, that decides the fate of those girls and to end the first installment.

It was a slow presentation, that’s where the problem lies to find the audience for it. Because youngsters won’t like the films that lacks its pace, though it was based on them. It was not a visual extravaganza as we have seen in the American counterpart films. Yet the story was very ordinary with the characters close to the actual world except their supernatural abilities. So saving the world means not anything close to ‘The Avengers’ films, everything here is on a small scale, but properly arranged.

The fate of the sequel was based on the result of this film. It got a mixed response, in that, mine is positive. The film came out from all the obstacles while it was in production, so by seeing it all I don’t think they’re going to make another film in the series. Surely I want it because I enjoyed it which I consider a very rare type, especially in this theme, unlike where the world cinema is obsessed with graphics and fancy stunt sequences for a similar concept.

“You were born selected. The Magic has always been within you.”

It is a very long film which is definitely a drawback for a todays film. Had all the opportunities to go deep into every character to expose their qualities and they did that, yet feels like they should have done more for this kind of runtime. Because in many parts it was a limping development.

From all the above it does not look like a film to watch on the big screen. Maybe a television series would have been a fine idea, but still I’m happy for this because I always choose films over the television series. Mainly for the sound mixing, which are usually have the multiple track digital surrounds where in television, they’re just stereo. But for this film, they were just okay as I said earlier, it wasn’t a grand film.

I have seen many Swedish films, but not enough to recognise the actors from the local market. I think all the main cast in this was mostly the fresh faces and they have done greatly. An awesome production and wonderful music tracks.

I don’t know how it is compared to the source material, but the mysteries behind the deaths were well illustrated. The twist did not surprise me, but surely unpredictable. There are many unexplained theories lies open that is going to be clarified in its follow-ups. But now I have to wait for it which I’m confident that’s not going to happen, not anytime soon.

I can’t go for the book, because I’m not a reader. So it seems my journey ends here for the ‘Engelsfors’ trilogy. Better I’ll pray for the Japanese or the American version to come. In my opinion, this film was underrated, because people are addicted to the commercial elements which seriously lacks in it. Other than that it deserves respectable status among other films associated with the magic. I’ll definitely suggest it, but I don’t know how many of you will feel the way as I did. Anyway, I still say go for it.